Student Wellness Centre Cannabis Information Fair focuses on harm reduction and policy education

By and in Culture

In order to educate students, faculty and staff about safe and responsible cannabis consumption, the University of Saskatchewan Student Wellness Centre hosted a Cannabis Information Fair in Room 104 of Marquis Hall on Oct. 17.

According to Maryellen Gibson, a Peer Health mentor from the Student Wellness Centre, the fair offered facts and practical advice about harm reduction concerning cannabis from experts in the fields of public policy and mental health.

“We’re going to have professionals there who are working here at the university … [and] we also have a few people like myself who work with Student Wellness who can answer questions if people want to know a little bit more about how to lower their risk around cannabis use,” Gibson said.

The information supplied at the event was based on Canada’s Lower Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines, published by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. The document contains information intended to educate users on the effects of cannabis, right down to the chemical composition of the substance.

Gibson spoke about preventing cannabis use while driving in accordance with the laws of the Saskatchewan government.

“One of the big things that everyone asks about is driving…  Those lower-risk guidelines suggest at least a bare minimum to wait six hours after use before driving, but we suggest to wait as long as you feel you need to and that can be up to 24 hours,” Gibson said.

While the CAMH guidelines are the current standard for cannabis education, as more information becomes available, the Student Wellness Centre plans to adapt as new studies and knowledge become available.

A stuffed toy in the shape of a cannabis leaf is posed in the grass.

“This is something that we want to continue talking about when it comes to cannabis, specifically, because we want to be open to whatever research is coming out and changing. We may have completely different information in a year from now, especially when it comes to statistics,” Gibson said.

For students who were unable to attend the event but still have questions about legalization, the Student Wellness Centre plans to do more educational events on the subject in the coming months.

“We’re hoping to hold other info fairs and presentations or workshops throughout October and November. We’re just solidifying what those dates are going to look like, but we want to be sure to have that information out so that people can come to workshops and presentations,” Gibson said.

In addition to information events, those who are concerned about their own substance use or who struggle with addiction are encouraged to check out counselling services, which are also available through the Student Wellness Centre.

“When it comes to substance misuse — or if people want to talk to someone about their use of any substance — there [are] non-judgemental, quite open counsellors at [the] Student Wellness [Centre] that are really great to talk to, and they can be a great resource to either help you here on campus or link you to other resources that might be beneficial,” Gibson said.

More information about cannabis harm reduction from the Student Wellness Centre can be found at usask.ca/stayhealthy.

Tanner Bayne / News Editor, Cole Chretien / Culture Editor

Photo: Riley Deacon / Photo Editor